What does Dam That River mean?

Alice In Chains: Dam That River Meaning

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Album cover for Dam That River album cover

Dam That River Lyrics

I broke you in the canyon
I drowned you in the lake
You a snake that I would trample
Only thing Id not embrace

Oh, you couldnt dam that river
And maybe I dont give a damn anyway
So you couldnt dam that river
And it washed me so far...


    #1 top rated interpretation:
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    Mar 17th 2009 !⃝

    The River represents a dose of heroin in the blood stream. The dam represents a means by which to stop or block the flow of water, and in this case heroin. The heroin addict has tried to quit without success. So many failed attempts to quit heroin has made the user second guess himself and his true intentions. Maybe I really don't want to quit?

    Layne later revives this meaning while fronting the band Mad Season in the song "River of Deceit" again the river represents heroin in the blood stream. A deceiving Drug indeed! The first few doses feel great and keep you coming back for more. But once your body becomes physically addicted, you no longer use to get high... you use because you have to. It's turned from recreation and into requirement. Your body needs it in order to feel normal. If you don't have it you go through very painful and terrifying physical withdraws. "The river of deceit flows down. The only direction we flow is down." Heroin is infact an opiate which is also considered a downer. The heroin brings you down. Down is a place where you feel no pain. Down is like sleeping awake. And down is a reason to maintain. It can go on for years before it eventually kills you.

    On a side note, I can totally relate to AIC and their songs. I am a recovered heroin addict. Heroin changed my life forever and I will never be the same!! If I could take it all back, I most certainly would! I would have never tasted it. When you no longer have it, even in a recovered state, life without it can be miserable and even reduce a persons will to live... It's like there is something missing always. I for one have matured through all phases of recovery, I am blessed to be alive and now humbly accept life for what it is. To anyone thinking about trying it, I plead with you to at all costs stay far far away!! Your just as well to go out and buy a pistol... put three rounds in the chamber... Spin... click... BOOM.

  2. anonymous
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    Jan 5th 2017 !⃝

    LOL--of course it's plain as day that the song's about Sean hitting Jerry with a table?!?! They perhaps wouldn't deny & minimize the damningly sensitive heroin subject!?!? So I guess Dirt is about Jerry hitting Sean with a shovel while planting a vegetable garden together!?!?

  3. anonymous
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    Jun 5th 2014 !⃝

    Jerry wrote this song about a fight he had with Sean. Jerry needed a ride and kept bugging Sean about a ride and made him so mad that he picked up a coffee table and broke it over Jerry's head. Jerry's retaliation was writing this song. This information was taken from the Music Bank box set.

  4. anonymous
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    Oct 29th 2012 !⃝

    Heroin I mean..

  5. anonymous
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    Oct 29th 2012 !⃝

    Considering it was written soley by Jerry Cantrell and Layne didn't write the lyrics, I doubt it was about heroine like the Layne penned songs were.

  6. anonymous
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    Feb 10th 2011 !⃝

    It is about a fight Jerry had with Mike... I'm telling you guys, this is it.

  7. anonymous
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    Sep 19th 2010 !⃝

    I read somewhere this song was written about a fight between Jerry Cantrell and Sean Kinney where one of thm had a table broken across their back.

  8. bobdylan
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    Sep 13th 2010 !⃝

    This was the best album of the so-called Grunge era. The time signature changes in Dam The River are impossible! AArgh!
    Thanks for alerting me to that river-heroine metaphor. The whole album focuses around that damn heroine addiction. And it's a damn shame that a bunch of mediocre musicians stole their eponymous name: "God Smack." And then a decade later Layne actually dies of that shit!
    Alice has gotten back together without him--which is no way near the same. Although, in my humble opinion, Steve Cantrell is a darn brilliant composer.
    What are those scales he's playing? Aaargh!

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  9. XxROCKER113xX
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    Jul 11th 2008 !⃝

    I think the song is about Layne trying to kick his addiction of heroin. He talks about how he can't Dam That River, meaning he can't stop his addiction to heroin and he's tried many times.

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